Tipping Your Mount Kilimanjaro Porters

Photo Credit: Aaron Stidwell 

Photo Credit: Aaron Stidwell 

Written by: Jonathan Lee

With every successful Mount Kilimanjaro expedition there is a large team at work in the background to ensure that your climb is not only smooth, but also the experience of a lifetime! To learn more about a Kilimanjaro Climb Support Team, read this blog post about the makeup and role of each climbing support team member.

While the climbing support team is paid by the tour operator for their services, the wages are still very low by western standards and the porters rely heavily on receiving tips as part of their income just as waiters and waitresses rely heavily on tips in the U.S. Therefore, It’s customary and expected that climbers tip their support team (guides, porters, chef etc.) for their support during the climb. Climbers should plan on budgeting 10-15% of the cost of their climb towards tips.

Below is a tipping guide that we’ve put together to help you plan for tipping your Mount Kilimanjaro support crew.

Mount Kilimanjaro – Porter Tipping Guide

The cost of the Mount Kilimanjaro climb paid to the tour company does not include tips for the guide and porters. The guides and support staff rely heavily on tips from climbers to supplement their daily wage from the tour company. There is a large supply of guides and porters and as a result wages on Mt. Kilimanjaro are low and usually average $10/day per porter.

While there is no set standard for tipping, the following guidelines have been provided by the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project, which is an advocate for the proper treatment of Porters’ rights. As these are guidelines please use your personal discretion in determining how much to tip your guides and porters based on your personal experience on the climb.

  • It’s customary that each climber tips 10-15% of the cost of their climb. (Example: If a climb costs $2000, budget $200-$300 per/person for tips)
  • On the first day of your climb, ask your guide for a list of all the support crew members on the climb and their role. Make sure to ask to meet each person of the staff either at the gate or the first camp.
  • There is usually a tipping ceremony on the last day of the climb, during the last meal on the mountain, with the climbers and crew. Tips can be placed in individual envelopes and the climber(s) hand them directly to each crew member.

Here are example tipping amounts per position based on a 5 day climb (per climber), adjust amounts based on the number of days of your climb:

Lead Guide - $16/day x 5 days = $80

Assistant Guide - $10/day x 5 days = $50

Chef - $13 /day x 5 days = $65

Porter (per porter) - $ 6 / day x 5 days = $30

A couple things to remember when tipping Kilimanjaro Support Team:

  • Hand the tip directly to each crew member, not the guides. This ensures that each member receives the full tip.
  • Remember to bring enough cash on your climb (either U.S. dollars or Tanzania Shillings) in order to tip your Guide and Porters
  • Bring a packet of letter size envelopes to distribute the tip to the Guides and Porters
  • Determine a tip for each component of your climbing group: the porters, cooks, assistant guides, and the lead guide
  • Distribute it on the final morning of the descent usually at Mweka Camp or the Park Gate
  • The average Tanzanian makes $40 per month. A $40 tip for difficult work for many days is a great wage and supports the local economy.
  • Adjust your tip to each crew member as desired, for example if certain crew members have gone the extra mile during your climb.